The phrase a big fat Indian wedding has probably been made famous by Bollywood movies. In a country where movies and celebs are not only seen as entertainers but also forecasters of what our wardrobe will look like, it is not surprising that most women want to emulate their wedding looks, inspired by the grandeur of these movies.
Luxurious designer outfits, opulent heritage jewels, and the plethora of note-worthy trends - all packed into 5 mins of screen time - is enough to set the ball rolling for anyone who is planning their wedding. If you're a bride-to-be (who's also a movie-buff), seeking inspiration on utilising here are all the iconic Bollywood bridal outfits that you need to know of so that you can curate your bridal outfit with a little modification.
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge - 1995
It’s hard to believe that it’s been over 25 years since this movie released. And despite the bevy of looks which have made an appearance on the big screen, Kajol’s wedding lehenga remains one of the most iconic wedding dresses of all times.
The outfit, designed by Manish Malhotra during the early days of his career, is still relevant today as we see the kurta-lehenga pairing making a comeback now. The monotone beige outfit, inspired by the OTT trends of the '90s, is tastefully shown by the gold embroidery and is undoubtedly what makes it a classic. This was one of those trend-setting moments where the bride stayed away from the quintessential red lehenga and actually ran out on her own wedding.
Dhadkan - 2000
This movie set ground-breaking trends almost as soon as it hit the silver screen. Shilpa Shetty's wardrobe - which constituted of demure pastel kurta sets otherwise - had us shooketh with this cobalt blue lehenga set for her on-screen wedding. Manish Malhotra, who worked on the costume, made sure that the highly-anticipated wedding scene stood out from the rest.
This bride, too, was a trailblazer in her own way, shunning the "must-have red for my wedding" stereotype. This was when the jewel tone trend had started making progress in bridal wear. The whole look, backed by an unmissable gold choker, those haathphools and the scene-stealing gold maangtikka, was truly ahead of its time.
Zubeidaa - 2001
Zubeidaa, a critically-acclaimed film for which Karisma Kapoor bagged a Filmfare Award, has given us numerous sartorial inspirations. The iconic wedding scene, where the actress dons a traditional red attire with gota patti embroidery, is still prevalent today - well, if not the excessively covered-up blouse, at least, the colour.
Pia Benegal, costume designer and daughter of the veteran film-maker Shyam Benegal, managed to capture the nuances of bridal dressing set in Jodhpur. The whole look comprised of a traditional mangtikka, kan-chain earrings, choker, long beaded necklace and traditional red chooda. The current bridal trends are rejigged versions of this look, made famous by designers like Manish Malhotra, Anita Dongre and Sabyasachi.
Veer Zaara - 2004
Sure, you must have seen Sonam Kapoor and Deepika Padukone wearing white to important events of their own wedding, but, we can say with much gusto that it was only post Veer Zaara that the colour was even considered as an option for weddings. Manish Malhotra, who established his namesake label this year, curated resplendent looks to get Zara's look right. Although we did see the ceremonial red for Zaara's first wedding in the movie, the white and purple gharara set with intricate embroidery for the iconic Veer-Zaara wedding had everyone opting for unconventional colours. We love the matching maangtikka, choker and purple bangles. Plus, let's not forget the nose-ring, which became all the rage post this movie.
Jodhaa Akbar - 2008
This period film based on the Mughal-Rajput cultural amalgamation served a palette of phenomenal looks. Not only were they extremely remarkable, but also unquestionably iconic. Neeta Lulla aced the intricacy and the exuberance required for a to-be Mughal queen in this red lehenga set, which, safe to say, has inspired multitudes of brides and continues to do so.
One cannot talk about this exemplary look without addressing the heavy use of jewllery, which made it truly royal. Laden with traditional kundan stones, rubies and pearls, this regal jewellery trend became a mainstay of many brides. It won't be wrong to say that the obsession with chokers amongst the millennial brides has stemmed from Aishwarya Rai's ethereal-looking piece here.
Tanu Weds Manu - 2011
Tanu Weds Manu set a benchmark for not only the award-winning script but also for the vivacious ethnic wear. Reza Sharrifi, the costume designer, made ample usage of bold and lively colours to depict the North-Indian culture. But, what swept us off the floor was this green lehenga set which influenced people to opt for vibrant shades of the otherwise-ceremonial colour. The heavy kundan and beaded choker set and bangles were the fuel to an OTT outfit.
Rockstar - 2011
Rockstar depicted the first-ever Kashmiri Pandit wedding on a silver screen. While that may be iconic in itself, costume designers Aki Narula and Manish Malhotra made sure that it was nothing less than note-worthy. They aced the details with the pandit pheran, dejhor (ear jewellery) and taranga (head cap under the veil). Nonetheless, Nargis Fakhri looked stunning in red, with some of kundan jewellery accentuating the look.
Chennai Express - 2013
Of all the trend-setting on-screen Deepika Padukone looks, the red and gold Kanjeevaram saree is rendered to be the most-replicated look of all time, considering the all-traditional factor. The iconic look consists of classic temple jewellery with south-Indian aesthetics for the maangtikka and kamarbandh.
Manish Malhotra ensured the credibility of the bridal look since it got many of this generation's young brides to shelve their lehengas and opt for quintessential red heirloom-worthy sarees.
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil - 2016
Since Manish Malhotra is a regular contender on the list of iconic Bollywood bridal outfit designer, here is another quintessential style of his that is in every bride's wish-list. The 17 kg heavy kurta-lehenga set, that is an expensive rendition of Kajol's humble DDLJ piece, brought back the more-is-more trend which had taken a backseat thanks to everyone's obsession with minimalism.
While talking about factors that made the look iconic, one cannot overlook the monstrosity that is the kundan neck piece, and, of course, that passa. Alizeh's look from this movie also made brides choose for an extra, more diaphanous veil, so that the dupatta could be draped the way the bride seemed fit.
Raazi - 2018
The red and green sharara worn by Alia Bhatt resonated with her strong character. The outfit was equal parts traditional and quintessential, as the OTT zardozi embroidery came back unapologetically. Instead of equally heavy jewellery, Alia Bhatt was seen wearing a simple choker and beaded necklace, maangtikka, bangles and a nose-ring.
The key to acing this look is to balance the heavy outfit with appropriate jewellery, and this is a new-age bridal trend that we will be seeing more of.
Veere Di Wedding - 2018
Kareena Kapoor in Veere Di Wedding was the perfect exemplar of vintage-meets-contemporary. The Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla bridal lehenga does have an interesting back story to it. The chikankari piece was actually made 25 years ago and was lying untouched till stylist Rhea Kapoor discovered it in a quest for something 'antique'. With a few chops - like turning the blouse into an off-shoulder one and decorating the yoke with tassels of pearls - she turned the piece into something that was on the wishlist of every modern bride. If you've ever needed any inspiration to remodel your mother's wedding-wear to suit your new-age needs, let this piece inspire you!
Which one of the iconic Bollywood bridal outfits are you eager to emulate? Let us know in the comments below.